You may have heard about new artificial intelligence software that can generate content with the prompting of a few keywords. Well, ChatGPT, which launched last November, certainly scares the heck out of us. Initially invented as a search engine to answer questions, ChatGPT can generate whole articles of content with a suggestion of what one is looking for.
Take a look at this completely made-up news story it generated when I simply asked it to “Write a news story about Todd Flora of Santa Monica, CA, USA:”
“SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – Todd Flora, a local resident of Santa Monica, has become the talk of the town after his recent act of bravery.
On a typical Sunday afternoon, Flora was taking a leisurely walk on the beach when he heard screams for help. Without hesitation, he quickly sprinted towards the commotion and saw that a young girl was struggling in the water, unable to swim back to shore.
Flora, a strong swimmer himself, immediately jumped into the water and swam towards the girl. He was able to reach her just in time and kept her afloat until the lifeguards arrived. The girl was safely brought back to the shore, and Flora’s quick thinking and bravery were lauded by the onlookers.
In a statement to the press, Flora humbly brushed off the attention and praised the lifeguards for their swift response. “I’m just glad I was there at the right time and could help in any way I could,” he said.
Flora’s heroic act has earned him a lot of praise and admiration from the local community. His neighbors and friends have described him as a selfless and compassionate person who is always willing to lend a helping hand.
The incident has also sparked discussions about the importance of water safety and the need for more awareness campaigns to educate people, especially children, about the dangers of swimming in the ocean.
Despite the attention, Flora remains modest about his heroic act and continues to go about his daily life with his usual humility and grace. His act of bravery has inspired many and reminded us all of the power of human kindness and compassion.”
Society is already subject to “deep fake” technology which can take famous people’s faces and apply them to videos that are completely made up. And now, we can create completely make-up news stories about Westside Voice Publisher Todd Flora saving someone from drowning? He rarely even visits the beach despite living in a beach town!
The scariest part about this for journalists is that this type of technology — also being developed by Google and others — is thought to be a tool to replace journalists in the future! What news will we be expected to believe?
We make movies like The Terminator that explicitly warn us about moving forward with artificial intelligence, and yet we continue to advance this technology. We at Westside Voice continue to believe it will be our undoing.
Image by Shutthiphong Chandaeng